On July 13 a new caravan of people will be bussed up to the Unist’ot’en Camp, an activist action camp it’s leaders call a “soft blockade”. Like most similar events, the media hasn’t been doing a good job at covering the camp. Movement-friendly media have been publishing misleading information- like Rabble.ca’s post that leaves the reader to believe all of the the Wet’suwet’en people “stand united” against the pipelines, others simply omit the fact that people in the community have opposing views.
Most of the information about the Unist’ot’en camp has been produced by their allies and supporters; many stories come from publications with low moral standards- the result is that there’s been a lot of misinformation circulating around. A prominent activist recently explained his theory to me about why media coverage of these events is often so dismal. Staffing cuts, and the time demands of the 24 hour news cycle can make it difficult for journalists to dig too deep. He suggested to try and encapsulate information for people in the media, “give them some bullet points they can work off, with lots of references”.
In anticipation of a potential conflict at the Unist’ot’en, and in the hope that this will help people better cover the story when it happens, I’ve compiled a list of five things every journalist should know about the camp. It should also be a good guide to those of you who are considering joining the conflict- beware of the risks you take with your dangerous new bedfellows. Not all is as it looks on the surface.